CRM, which stands for customer relationship management, refers to software that helps companies track interactions with current and prospective customers.

Before all else, a CRM system should be useful to its end-users: salespeople, sales managers, marketers and business leaders. CRM systems have a range of functionalities, but the following nine features are must-haves for any business that is aiming to organize its systems and improve its efficiency.

1. Custom Contact Management

You won’t find a CRM that doesn’t have a contact management capability. If you do, chances are you aren’t looking at a CRM. All CRM systems allow salespeople to create contact records and store prospect and customer information in a database. However, the best systems that truly improve efficiency will reduce and streamline contact data entry as much as possible.

A CRM should also allow for contact field customization. Every company has different needs when it comes to the type of information it must store for its clients and prospects. Your CRM should be able to accommodate your requirements.

2. Deal Stages

Each company’s sales team may follow a slightly different sales process—especially when comparing B2B and B2C companies. Your CRM system should be customized to fit your specific sales process. Whether your company has three deal stages or 15, you should be able to program these levels into the software and attach associated values.

It should also be easy to move a deal along the sales process, from one stage to the next. In HubSpot CRM, advancing a deal is as simple as dragging and dropping:

3. Daily Dashboard

Salespeople need visibility into a number of metrics on a daily basis—metrics such as their progress to date against quota, how many deals they have in their pipelines and at which stages and what outstanding tasks they need to complete. Similarly, sales managers and leaders need to be able to view these categories for the aggregated sales team.

Evaluate this function based on visual appeal and simplicity.

4. Task Management

A salesperson who has to toggle back and forth among several systems to view and complete their daily tasks is not a happy person (though this is common). CRM systems that include task management capabilities streamline salespeople’s day-to-day workflow and help them keep on top of their follow-up.

5. Content Repository

According to Docurated, salespeople spend 31% of their time hunting for or creating content. To cut back on wasted time searching for content, look for a CRM system with an embedded content repository. Look for a system that allows salespeople to save their go-to pieces of collateral in one place. And it’s not just collateral. Writing email copy can be another time-drain for a busy salesperson. Look for a system that also allows the user to file customized email templates, so the sales rep is not reinventing the wheel with every new outreach.

Content Repository

6. Automated Data Capture

One of the primary reasons companies decide to adopt a CRM is to keep better track of customer and prospect touches (emails, calls, etc.). But, beware: Many CRM applications require salespeople to copy and paste their email outreach into the system or even upload call recordings.

These extra steps can be maddening for salespeople who are making multiple calls every single day, and it leaves room for human error. Look for software that does this step automatically. HubSpot CRM automatically logs calls made and emails sent, and posts them in a timeline-like view on a contact’s record page:

Automated Data Capture

7. Reporting

A CRM system is only as good as the insights it provides. Be sure that your CRM provides reporting features that make it easy to export and distribute the trends that the system reveals.

Reporting

8. Mobile

Sales reps have seen productivity increase by 15% when they had mobile access to CRM applications. Tying reps to a CRM system that can only be accessed via laptop is bound to annoy them, especially if they’re in a role that requires travel. The majority of CRM systems today allow salespeople to log on to the application from mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones—make sure the ones you’re considering do as well.

Mobile

9. Integration with Marketing Automation

And last but not least, integration between your marketing and sales platform is crucial. After all, the underlying concept of “customer relationship management” is to provide a complete lifecycle view into each prospect and client. A gap between marketing automation and CRM can lead to lost information and lost opportunities.

Related Blog: The Benefits of a CRM System

For more information on how a CRM system can help your company more effectively manage customer data and improve customer relationships, contact Sarah Chula at 440-449-6800 or email Sarah.

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